The medical industry is fraught with ethical dilemmas, philosophical questions and general controversy. The topic of vaccinations is often a source of debate.

Admittedly, vaccinations have helped to save the lives of many people around the world. Without them, some conditions may still be raging to this day.

But throughout every industry and history in general, it is hard to find an argument that allows the ends to justify the means. With this said, the way that vaccines are created involves very questionable means.

One of the main “ingredients” behind vaccines are the use of cell lines that originate from aborted fetuses. The WI-38 cell line is no different, and its back story is tragic.

Where did the WI-38 cell line come from?

In 1962, a young Swedish woman ended a pregnancy at four months through abortion. At four months, a baby is fast-developing. becoming more active, and getting bigger by the day.

But the woman ended up aborting her child, sadly. Abortion was legal in Sweden at the time, but not many doctors were willing to perform the “procedure”. The fetus was then taken away by scientists. This was done without the approval or knowledge of the mother.

The fetus was taken to the Karolinska Institute in the capital city Stockholm. Then, its lungs were removed, packed in ice and transported to the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, United States.

A biologist named Leonard Hayflick then cut the organs into tiny pieces. Following laboratory work, Hayflick was able to make them replicate a group of normal human cells.

The lung cells of the fetus would be heavily used in the following years. The cells would be the driving force for vaccines for conditions like Rubella and Adenovirus.

Since 1962, these cells have been replicated hundreds of thousands of times. But they still retain that originality – and there is no getting away from the fact that a child was killed at just 4 months.

These cell lines have proven to be money-makers for numerous pharmaceutical giants. For example, Merck made over $1.6billion from its MMR and chickenpox vaccines – both of which involve WI-38. Again, this money is very unethically sourced.

The mother’s anguish

The woman was later tracked down by a journalist. Her identity was never publicly revealed, but she was understandably furious. In 2013, she said that “they were doing this without my permission”, and that such a thing “could not happen today”.

Can you imagine making the decision to abort a child – itself a horrific decision – only to then hear it was mutilated and essentially put into hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines. To think the poor child was split into so many millions of pieces is reprehensible.

WI-38 is also used in the Chickenpox vaccine. However, interestingly, the Chickenpox vaccine is not provided in the United Kingdom with the NHS, instead, Britons must pay privately for the vaccine. Yet the UK has very few Chickenpox deaths. Are we arguably over-vaccinating children?

For the mother, she did not consent to this. The child, who would have grown up to have their own life – were stopped from ever having an opportunity

Religious Considerations

For those who oppose the horrors of abortion and value life, any vaccine that uses aborted fetal cell lines is highly-controversial. The Covid-19 vaccine was no different, and presented many questions for Pro-Lifers.

As well as WI-38 cells, HEK-293 cells and MRC-5 cell lines are other common instruments in the creation of vaccines. Again, these are derived from aborted fetuses.

The Catholic Church, which has a staunch anti-abortion approach, have urged its followers to use alternative vaccines to those including aborted fetus cell lines where possible – but permits their use if necessary.

Of course, some religious people view vaccinations as an obligatory activity – one that helps to protect the wider human population. There are arguments for this approach too.

Vaccines can also involve animal testing – which itself is a tempestuous topic. Sadly, the WI-38 cell line is far from an isolated case. The Polio vaccine, released in 1955, involved the slaughter of thousands of monkeys for their cells.

The Takeaway

The story behind the creation of the WI-38 cell line is harrowing. To think a child was ripped from the womb, then to have its organs taken and mutilated, is sickening.

Some will suggest that its wide use and the lives saved justify its use. But is it really ever acceptable for there to be a human cost for defeating conditions. What right do we have to play God?